Caldwell v. Hubble, No. 2009-CA-001512-MR (Ky. Ct. App. 06/18/10, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Kentucky Court of Appeals held that a worker injured by a coworker's car was bound by the exclusive remedy provision of Kentucky law. Therefore, it upheld the dismissal of his negligence suit against his coworker.
What it means: The Kentucky exclusive remedy provision protects employers from liability for unintentional injuries to employees occurring in the course of their employment. It extends to all employees, unless the injury was caused by "willful and unprovoked physical aggression" or horseplay. It bars a negligence suit against a coworker when the injury occurred on the employer's premises, while the employees were on the clock, and it was typical behavior.
Summary: A worker on a paid break walked to a gymnasium to exercise. Employees were encouraged to partake in the company's exercise program and received compensation for participating. While walking back to work, a coworker ran over his foot with his vehicle. The worker's foot was crushed, requiring surgery. The worker received workers' compensation benefits and also sued his coworker for negligence. The Kentucky Court of Appeals decided that the exclusive remedy provision of Kentucky law barred the suit.
In deciding that the employee was acting within the course of his employment while traveling from the gymnasium, the court mentioned that both employees were being paid when the injury occurred. Additionally, the court noted that the accident occurred on the employer's premises.
The coworker's actions were not provoked, and he was not engaged in horseplay, the court decided. The court also said that the coworker's behavior was not removed from what the company would expect. Many employees typically drove to the gym, and he testified that he slowed the vehicle while passing the pedestrians.
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September 13, 2010
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